After receiving $21,352.39 last month as the second of two payments in federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds, Forestville Village President Terry McNulty said the village plans to use the money to cover additional expenses incurred with the Miller Avenue sewer project.
“That will bring that cost back to hopefully close to where it originally was,” he said.
McNulty said the village originally received a $60,000 estimate to do the work on Miller Avenue, but it turned out to cost $100,000.
The Village of Forestville was allocated a total of $42,704.77 in ARPA funds. It received the first half last year as federal aid provided to municipalities to recover from the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
McNulty informed the village board Monday that he had sent a letter to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources in support of maintaining a minimum water level at the Forestville Millpond.
He said a water level of at least three feet needs to be in the millpond to ensure that the Southern Door Fire Department’s dry hydrant installed there for a fill site will be able to draw enough water to put out a large fire in the village.
McNulty said a low water level also has a negative economic impact on the area, as occurred during the two-year millpond drawdown beginning in November 2019 and ending last September.
“A pandemic is not what slowed business and outdoor activities in and around Forestville,” he said. “A young lady’s kayak service was really diminished. There was no reason for our local service station to sell bait anymore, and the hundreds of people that used to stop at our taverns and restaurants have not stayed around the past couple years because of mucky, low water.”
The County of Door – the owner and operator of the Forestville Dam, which creates the millpond – favored the drawdown approach as a way to compact sediment, kill invasive aquatic vegetation and eliminate undesirable fish species such as carp before refilling the 94-acre site.
The drawdown was mired in controversy, with a group known as the Friends of the Forestville Dam filing a lawsuit that was dismissed in January in Door County Circuit Court.
McNulty said he’s convinced “Door County’s experiment” of the drawdown never took into account the recreational opportunities and economic impact of the millpond.
“It’s not fair that we lost those outdoor activities or what was a secret great fishing hole,” he said. “Now it will take years for our pond to be the same.”
The village is looking into possible grant opportunities to remove undesirable vegetation growth that became established during the drawdown.